Summary: Jesus Circumcision
On the 8th Day
January 1, 2005
New Year’s Day
† IN the Name of Jesus †
Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!
He humbled himself….
Even to circumcision…
Last Saturday, and Sunday, we celebrated the incredible birth of Jesus into this world. The long awaited Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace, the one whom through everything that was created, now lives and breathes, among His creation. A little baby, born in that cold stable, lying in a hard manger, packed with strips of cloth. His eyes look around and see people, people He loves, and people He will, in 3 decades die for, on a cruel, hard cross.
Today, we see him pictured in the one verse of the Gospel lesson, visibly 8 days old, yet really older than time. Scripture tells us what happened on that day, as in obedience to the Law of Moses, and in obedience to the covenant of Abraham, a sharp stone knife was taken, and they circumcised this little baby, their creator. It is then scripture tells us, that to all the named commanded by the angels, was given to him, and made known to the community of God. Jesus, which means God saves.
In having a one verse reading to preach on, I was tempted to focus on the other action that takes place, the naming of Jesus. For what is there to talk about, in the fact that a little baby was circumcised? What difference should that make to us, for no longer does the church practice circumcision? Why did the creator of the universe, the only begotten son of God, have to go through such a ritual?
Is there any value to having Jesus circumcised? Does it benefit him in the same way it benefited Issac, or one of David’s sons or grandsons, or any of the children of Israel? Does it somehow benefit us? Is the benefit simply keeping the Law, or is there more to circumcision in the Old Covenant, and in Jesus’ time, than we see at first? The answer of course, is yes, even more than I realized, prior to realizing I had to preach on one verse.
So we shall answer these questions, did Jesus have to be circumcised, and is it any benefit to us, that He did?
Did he need it?
For righteousness? No
For unity with us? Yes!
It is too early to be “cut off” from His people!
All things were created through Jesus. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is Holy, the Alpha and Omega, He is pure and righteous, and perfect. He is without sin. Even without the little ones, like lieing to his parents, or to his boss. He would never gossip, or lust, or think evil about others. In His life, he would put others ahead of himself, ministering to their needs first. He was patient with sinners, and in our cases, He still is. With all of that noted, did Jesus really need to be circumcised?
It will help – I believe, to go back to when circumcision was initiated, and for what purpose, it is copied there, in your outline.
11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."
Circumcision was not the law of the Mosaic Covenant alone, for here, a half century before, we see it is the sign of the covenant between God and Abraham, and his descendants. The circumcision marks them as members of the group of people collectively known as God’s people, the sons of Abraham. Without that mark, the man is cut-off from the people of God, not counted among them. Without that mark, one could not be part of the people of God, or receive the blessings that they received, as they trusted in the promises of God.
One thing interests me here, and that is that receiving the mark that identifies the person as a member of God’s family, is done without their permission. They are identified as God’s, without their “decision”. Normally, we think of circumcision, and baptism, its New Testament counterpart, as events or actions which fulfill a command of God. Yet, that command is not fulfilled by the individual, but by people acting on his behalf. It is not their fulfillment of the law, but the fulfillment of the Law for them, by another.